Pitcher, "The Brig Elizabeth"

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This transfer printed creamware pitcher is decorated with a dramatic scene of a brig caught in a storm. Under the print is its title, “The Brig Elizabeth Wrecked 1.st December 1821.” Beneath the spout is a medallion with the name “S. Davee.” On the reverse is the print titled “An Emblem for America.” It depicts the allegorical figure of Columbia holding a flag and showing two dark skinned Native Americans or Africans images of men involved in the discovery of North America and the founding of the United States. Christopher Columbus, “Americus” Vespucci, Sir Walter Raleigh, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams are depicted. There are black ink accents on the spout, lip, handle, and base of the jug. The brig Elizabeth, her cargo, and two men were lost in a storm on December 1, 1822. The print “An Emblem for America” is based on one engraving in a series by John Fairburn of London, published in 1798. Robert H. McCauley purchased this jug from Mrs. P. H. Safford of Fitchburg, MA on August 28, 1939 for $100.
This pitcher is part of the McCauley collection of American themed transfer print pottery. There is no mark on the pitcher to tell us who made it, but it is characteristic of wares made in large volume for the American market in both Staffordshire and Liverpool between 1790 and 1820. Pitchers of this shape, with a cream colored glaze over a pale earthenware clay, known as Liverpool type, were the most common vessels to feature transfer prints with subjects commemorating events and significant figures in the early decades of United States’ history. Notwithstanding the tense relationship between Britain and America, Liverpool and Staffordshire printers and potters seized the commercial opportunity offered them in the production of transfer printed earthenwares celebrating the heroes, the military victories, and the virtues of the young republic, and frequently all of these things at once.
Currently not on view
place made
United Kingdom: England, Liverpool
Physical Description
polychrome (overall surface decoration color name)
ceramic, earthenware, refined (overall material)
transfer printed (overall production method/technique)
overall: 9 5/16 in x 10 in x 8 in; 23.65375 cm x 25.4 cm x 20.32 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
collector/donor number
Credit Line
Robert H. McCauley
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Domestic Furnishings
McCauley Liverpool Pottery
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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